Fall 2017 Announcements and Accomplishments

Faculty Accomplishments

  • Bill Wandless' poem "The Bachelor's Arcana: Theatrics" has been accepted for publication by The Cincinnati Review, and his poem "Practical Anatomy" will appear in Rattle in early 2018.
  • Matthew Roberson has had short stories appear in Reunion: The Dallas Review, Fiction International, and Clackamas Literary Review

  • Jeffrey Bean's  second full-length collection, Woman Putting on Pearls, won the Red Mountain Poetry Prize and was published in June 2017 by Red Mountain Press.
  • Jeffrey Bean's poem, "Song of the Good Body," from his new book Woman Putting on Pearls was featured as the poem of the day for November 7th, 2017 on Verse Daily, a website featuring daily selections from recent poetry books and journals.
  • Jeffrey Bean's new poems, "Ella's Plan" and "How Ella Knows," were accepted for publication by The Southern Review.

  • Carlin Borsheim-Black was part of a panel that featured her presentation, "Preparing English Teacher Candidates to Teach about Racism through Literature" at the National Council of the Teachers of English Annual Conference in St. Louis in November.
  • Carlin Borsheim-Black did a webinar for Oakland Schools called, "Teaching for Racial Literacy through Literature." 

  • Jeffrey Weinstock's chapter "The American Ghost Story" was recently published in The Routledge Handbook to the Ghost Story.
  • Jeffrey Weinstock has marked his 20th book publication with the recent release of The Cambridge Companion to the American Gothic, which he edited for CUP.
  • Jeffrey Weinstock's essay "The Queer Time of Lively Matter: The Polar Erotics of Harriet Prescott Spofford's 'The Moonstone Mass'" has just come out in Women's Studies (46.6).
  • Jeffrey Weinstock's book chapter, "Burton's Bowl: Constructing Space in the Films of Tim Burton" was published in A Critical Companion to Tim Burton (eds. Antonio Sanna and Adam Barkman, Lexington Books).
  • Jeffrey Weinstock's "afterword" "Howl, Growl Scream! Listening to Monsters Beyond Meaning" just came out in the Fall 2017 issue of Listening: A Journal of Communication Ethics, Religion, and Culture.
  • Jeffrey Weinstock's 1999 essay, "ZombieTV," has just been republished in the University of Minnesota Press's Zombie Theory anthology (edited by Sarah Lauro).

  • Paul Anderson's short story "Sea Legs" will appear in an upcoming issue of Edify Fiction.  An earlier draft of this story as part of his MA thesis at CMU in 2013.

  • Steve Bailey's article "The Bombing of Bungalow C: Friendly Fire at the Stanley Civilian Internment Camp" was published in the 2017 issue of the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society Hong Kong Branch. This journal is a blind-reviewed interdisciplinary academic journal.
  • Steve Bailey's book Bold Venture: The American Bombing of Japanese-Occupied Hong Kong, 1942-1945 will be published by Potomac Books (an imprint of U-Nebraska Press) in late 2018. As a genre, this book blends creative nonfiction with military nonfiction.

  • Robert Fanning continued promoting his newly published collection of poetry Our Sudden Museum with readings in Petoskey, Franklin, and at the Kerrytown Book Festival in Ann Arbor. Next semester he'll read at Northern Michigan University and Alma College.
  • Darrin Doyle's short story, "Sanguine," was published in the August 28th issue of Hobart magazine.  
  • Kristin Sovis presented at the Michigan Council of Teachers of English (MCTE) Annual Fall Conference on October 20, 2017. The presentation title: "Rethinking Routines: Engaging Students by Building Critically-Constructed Habits."
  • Nate Smith presented a paper at the Midwest Modern Language Association in Cincinnatti in November, called: "Affective Politics in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, or, We Have Always Been Post-Truth." 

  • Dan Lawson co-wrote an article with Tracy Davis and former GA Josh Weirick titled "Writer L1/L2 Status and Asynchronous Online Writing Center Feedback: Consultant Response Patterns." The Learning Assistance Review 22.2 (Fall 2017).
  • Dan Lawson has a forthcoming article: "'Equally Terrorized': Rhetorical Irony, Rorty, and In the Shadow of No Towers."  Journal of Comics and Culture Vol. 2 (Fall 2017).
  • Dan Lawson's article "Peer Observation, Reflection, and Evaluation Practices in the Writing Center: A Genre Pedagogy Approach" has been accepted and will be published this spring in Praxis: A Writing Center Journal Spring 2018.

  • Joseph Sommers is a member of the Children's Literature Association's new editorial team for The ChLA Quarterly. The team will begin working on Acquisitions in June 2018 and will officially take over editing The Quarterly in June 2019.


Student Accomplishments

  • Two undergraduate students from English are nominated by CMU to compete for Fulbright Scholarships for a year abroad after they graduate. Kerigan Williams is nominated for a year's study in Germany, and Ashley Howell being nominated for a year's study in Vietnam.

  • Undergraduate student, Anna Shapland, has just completed her McNair Scholars Program research in young adult literature under her research mentor, Anne Alton.

  • Randi Bennett, an undergraduate BS in Ed English Major, presented "Representations of Mental Illness in Young Adult Literature" at the National Council of the Teachers of English Annual Conference in St Louis in November.

  • Matt Knieling, an alum of the BS in Ed English Major, just won the National Linda Reif Voices from the Middle Award for his article, "An Offense to Their Human Rights": Connecting Bud, not Buddy to the Flint Water Crisis with Middle School ELA Students." He is a third year teacher and doing amazing work in the classroom! 

  • MAELL Graduate student, and graduate assistant, Rachel Klammer presented a short story 'Dust Blowing Westward' at the MCEA conference on October 27th. 

  • Isabella Barricklow's poem "i picture god as a muslim woman" was accepted for publication by The Blue Route, a national undergraduate literary magazine (and a paying market).

  • Ashley Howell's poem "The Day My Mom Accidentally Went to Pride" was accepted for publication by The Blue Route, a national undergraduate literary magazine (and a paying market).

  • Ginny Agee, graduate assistant and MAELL student, presented with a group at the MiWCA conference in October. The presentation was called "LGBTQ+ and You: Making our Writing Centers More Inclusive." She also presented poetry at the Sigma Tau Delta conference "Identity, Imagination, (Re)Invention)" in November.

September 2017 Announcements

Student Achievements

  • Matt Homrich-Knieling, graduate of CMU's English Education program, teaches at Cesar Chavez Academy Middle School in Detroit, and he has just published an outstanding piece in an outstanding publication, Teaching Tolerance. This most recent publication is just one example of Matt's commitment and accomplishments as an English educator and activist for students, teachers, and equity in education. Congratulations, Matt! https://www.tolerance.org/magazine/fall-2017/what-the-numbers-dont-show

Summer 2017 Announcements

  • The Assembly for the Teaching of English Grammar Conference was held at CMU on August 11th and 12th. MA TESOL student Sarah Case, MAELL and Graduate Assistant Suzette Bristol, and the following English department faculty members were presenters: April Burke, Bill Blond, Amy Carpenter Ford, Mary Wendt, William Spruiell, and Cathy Hicks Kennard.

  • Jeffrey Weinstock had two book chapters published this summer: his essay "'Tekeli-li!': Poe, Lovecraft, and the Suspicion of Sameness" was published in The Lovecraftian Poe: Essays on Influence, Reception, Interpretation, and Transformation, edited by Sean Moreland; and his essay "Blasphemous Knowledge" came out in Wissen in der Fantastik: Vom Suchen, Verstehen und Teilien, edited by Meike Uhrig, Vera Cuntz-Leng, and Luzie Kollinger.  In May, he also gave a keynote address at the International Vampire Film & Arts Festival in Sighisoara, Romania.  

  • Robert Fanning's third full collection of poems, Our Sudden Museum, was published in April by Salmon Poetry in Ireland. This summer he traveled to do many public readings from the collection. Also, he was invited to be the Poetry Editor for Stand Magazine.

  • MAELL student, and Graduate Assistant, Suzanne Brown's essay, "Composing Women:Writing Female Identity, and Frontier Life in the 19th and 21st Centuries" has been accepted for publication to a journal called MidAmerica for its 2017 issue.   
    She wrote this paper in Dr. Weinstock's Fall 2016 American Literature Survey, and also presented this paper at a conference this summer called "Writing the Midwest" hosted by the Society for the Study of Midwestern Literature at MSU in June 2017.

  • Kristin Sovis' article, "The International Baccalaureate Learner Profile: A Social Justice Framework in the ELA Classroom," was published in the Language Arts Journal of Michigan (Volume 32, Number 2, Spring 2017).

  • Melinda Kreth co-authored an article with Beth Bowen (MAECC graduate '98) titled, "A Descriptive Survey of Technical Editors." IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication 60.3 (May 31 2017 online; Sept. 2017 print): 238 – 55. DOI: 10.1109/TPC.2017.2702039.

April 2017 Announcements


  • Tracy Collins was awarded a Premier Display Grant for a MLA presentation in Pennsylvania for her paper titled "Shaw in South Africa."

  • Nate Smith presented a paper, "'Carefull Mind': Affective Ethics in the 1590 Faerie Queene," at the Renaissance Society of America conference at the end of March.

  • Nicole McCleese's paper, "Rebellion, Dissent, and Other Disruptions to Heternormative Time: Queer Theory's Historical Performativity and TV's Pornographic Suffering in Outlander," has been accepted for the Canadian Association for American Studies conference, "Uncertain Futures," which will take place at OCAD University in Toronto from October 27th to 29th, 2017.


  • Amanda Jackson, a senior, minoring in English as a Second Language. She mentioned that she has completed many English courses as part of this training. Amanda has received a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Grant to Mexico for the upcoming academic year. Read about her story here.

  • Kristyn Turner and Emily Seward, students in the B.S. in Education: English program, were recently selected for the Learning and Leading Award for outstanding scholarship and service from TEPD, which comes with a $500 award.

  • MAELL student Suzette Bristol presented a paper, “Goddess to Evil Enchantress:  The Identity of Morgan le Fay Reflecting Historical and Literary Changes,” at the International Graduate Historical Studies Conference at CMU on March 31st. 

March 2017 Announcements


  • Dr. Amy Ford (on sabbatical) presented "Transformative Faculty Development: Infusing Social Justice into Teacher Education through Dialogue" with colleagues from CEHS as an interactive dialogue session at the American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education Annual Conference in Tampa, FL.

  • Robert Fanning, MFA was invited to give a presentation at Emerson College in Boston on March 30, as the member of a tribute panel for the late Bill Knott, a poet for whom he is the literary executor. On March 31, he will give a reading of his own work at the famed Grolier Poetry Book Shop in Harvard Square.

  • Three of Dr. Nicole Coondradt's Prison Education Initiative (PEI) students enrolled in Jackson College were winners in the Annual Lyman Fink Excellence in Writing Contest. Eight finalists' essays will be published in the collected essays volume and winners receive a monetary prize. For PEI students, the prize will be awarded as tuition credits since they may not receive monetary awards. Previously open only to regular students (on the "outside"), participation was extended to PEI students last year. Of the eight essays selected, *six* were by prison students, her students were three of those chosen, and placed first, third, and honorable mention.

  • The National Writing Project was awarded for $15,000 for the site's 2017-2018 SEED Invitational Leadership Institute Grant proposal. This is NWP's second grant award.

  • Dr. Darrin Doyle's fiction is forthcoming in The Offbeat, Five:2:One Magazine, and Spelk.


  • Undergraduate student, William Boleman, has been accepted into two MA programs in Children's Literature, both in England: Newcastle University and Roehampton University, the latter of which has offered him funding.

  • Undergraduate student and Writing Center consultant, Ashley Green,  will be attending a "Getting You to Indiana University" (GU2IU) program for minority students who are looking for graduate schools to pursue their Ph.D. Ashley is looking to pursue a Ph.D in Education Policy with a minor in African American Diaspora. 

  • Graduate student, Joshua Whicker, has been accepted to Wayne State's law school with complete funding.

February 2017 Announcements


  • Dr. Maureen Eke has been nominated by the Provost for the 2017 Michigan Distinguished Professor of the Year Award. 

  • Dr. Jeffrey Weinstock’s 2016 co-edited collection, The Age of Lovecraft, has won the 2016 Ray & Pat Browne Award for Best Edited Collection in Popular Culture and American Culture from the Popular Culture Association / American Culture Association.

  • Dr. Daniel Patterson’s John James Audubon's Journal of 1826: The Voyage to the Birds of America is being reissued this month in paperback by the University of Nebraska Press.

  • Dr. Mark Freed has received the FRCE Premier Display grant for a presentation in California titled, “Narrating an Unezahlbare Vergangenheit:  The Romantic Epistemology of Der Mann ohne Eignschaften”.

  • Dr. Elizabeth Brockman’s project titled “2017-2018 SEED CRWP Professional Development in a High-Need School Grant” has received a one and a half year contract from the National Writing Project/USDE.

  • Dr. Nicole McCleese's panel has been accepted for the American Literature Association 2017 conference in Boston. The panel, “Visualizing BDSM,” seeks to analyze the visual aesthetics and politics of BDSM in American literature from African American street lit of the 1950s, to the Barnard Sex Conference Diary of the 1980s, and new media and gaming.

  • Lecturer, William Blond II has been accepted to present the Assembly for Teaching of English Grammar (ATEG) 2017 conference.


  • Zachary Riddle, MAELL:CW student, and graduate assistant in the Writing Center, has had a chapbook of poetry accepted for publication by Finishing Line Press.

January 2017 Announcements


  • Dr. William Brevda has recently published "Specters of Joad."  Steinbeck Review 13.2 (2016): 196-209.  

  • Dr. Tracy Collins presented her paper "Shaw and South Africa" at the annual MLA Conference in Philadelphia in early January.

  • Dr. Jeffrey Weinstock is pleased to report the publication of "Lovecraft Today," the special issue of The Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts that he co-edited with Carl Sederholm of Brigham Young University.

  • Creative writing faculty, Robert Fanning's, third full-length collection of poetry, "Our Sudden Museum," will be published by Salmon Poetry in Ireland and launched in Washington DC the first week of February at the Associated Writing Program Conference.
  • Dr. Danny Patterson and Dr. Susan Griffith have announced their retirements in effect at the end of this academic year. 


  • MA in Composition and Communication candidate, and current graduate assistant, Rebecca Conklin, has been accepted to Michigan State University's doctoral program in Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures.

December 2016 Announcements


  • Dr. Carlin Borsheim-Black presented her research, "Blindspots: Pedagogical Moves that Undermine Racial Literacy Instruction in Secondary Literature Study" at the Literacy Research Association Conference in Nashville, TN.

    Dr. Borsheim-Black also presented her research, "'These Readers Don't Fit the Typical Mold': English Teacher Candidates' Conferences with Adolescents about Reading," at the National Council of the Teachers of English Annual Convention in Atlanta, GA.

  • Dr. Jeffrey Weinstock's book chapter, "The New Weird," has been published in Ken Gelder's collection, New Directions in Popular Fiction: Genre, Distribution, Reception (Palgrave 2016), and he has accepted the invitation to deliver a keynote address in May at the International Vampire Film and Art Festival in Transylvania Romania

  • Dr. Kristin Sovis gave two presentations at the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) Annual Convention in Atlanta, GA on November 18 and 19 entitled, "Mentoring New Teachers and Maintaining Momentum" and "Bringing Back the Joy: Advocating for Student-Centered, Purposeful, and Motivating Assignments and Assessments."  


  • Four CMU English Education students, along with their advisor Carlin Borsheim-Black, presented their original research at the National Council of the Teachers of English Annual Conference in Atlanta, GA: Tod Carnish, Salina Bosworth, Kristyn Turner, and Haley Gembarowski.

  • Rebecca Conklin, M.A. Candidate in Composition and Communication, had a rhetorical criticism paper accepted to the Central States Communication Association conference, which will be held in Minneapolis in mid-March 2017

    The paper, entitled "(Dis)identification, Efficacious Enactment, and Hybridized Forms in Adichie's 'We Should All Be Feminists'" was selected as one of the top four papers in the Rhetorical Theory and Criticism category overall; it was also selected at the top student debut paper in the same category.

​FaCIT :: Excellence in Teaching Award Winners 2014-2015

​Dr. Joseph Michael Sommers is an Associate Professor in the Department of English Language and Literature.  Dr. Sommers explains, “Honesty, good humor, and innovation lie at the heart of my teaching. (Yes, I am an eternal optimist.) These things make walking into class every morning at 8AM an exhilarating experience for my students and myself. Teaching for me has become as much about listening as it has been about speaking. It’s something I’ve come to term as empathic education, where both teacher and student construct bonds of concern for each other’s perspectives on the lesson. It creates a mutual respect for knowledge and learning where we all come together to discuss what we have learned and share the knowledge. Because I do care what they’re thinking, and I hope they care enough to share it as a community.”  One student notes, “he structured [his class] in a way that fully engaged all of his students even though we were all so diverse. He built trust and understanding with all his students by listening to each of our unique concerns and ideas.” 

Students study Harry Potter on UK spring break adventure

March 18, 2015

Students in two Central Michigan University courses traded in their bathing suits and sunscreen for a spring break filled with witchcraft and wizardry. These thirty-three students spent spring break learning all about Harry Potter on a 10-day adventure across the United Kingdom.​

CMU Associate Professor Joseph Michael Sommers designed the two courses – one English literature course and an Honors Program course – with the intention of immersing students in the living, breathing history of Harry Potter.   

"For me, for these courses, I tried to see the literature less from the books and more from the places from which the books derived," Sommers said. "The books being the artifacts of these magical locales. For example, it is one thing to read about The Hogwarts Express arriving at Platform 9 3/4, it's another thing to visit Platform 9 3/4."

The trip began in Edinburgh, Scotland, with a bus trip to Durham, Gloucester, Oxford, Watford, London, and Cambridge. Some of the experiences they had along the way included:

  • Eating at The Elephant House Café, where Rowling allegedly started the Harry Potter books;
  • Visiting key locations in the books and movies such as Edinburgh Castle, Greyfriars Kirkyard, Durham Cathedral and Castle, Gloucester Cathedral, Oxford's Bodleian Library and Christ's Church, the Tower of London, the London Zoo among dozens of other Harry Potter-related destinations;
  • Stopping in at Platform 9 3/4 in King's Cross Station;
  • Exploring sites in London's Zone 1 associated with Harry Potter; and
  • Experiencing "The Making of Harry Potter" at the Warner Bros. Studio Tour in Watford.

"Most of the trip built up to Thursday's visit to the Harry Potter Studios," said CMU senior Taylor DesOrmeau of Novi. "After watching a brief introduction in a theater, the screen went up and behind it was the door to the Great Hall of Hogwarts. We walked through the door and there were five or six people from our class already in tears. It was a great moment."

Sommers believes CMU may be the only school to teach Harry Potter in this format.

"Any university can – and likely does – teach Harry Potter, but not many places do it like this," Sommers said. "We did our best to re-examine Harry Potter, as a cultural phenomenon, the way the British experience it instead of simply reading and cutting into the text."

Sommers says his biggest challenge might be keeping his students engaged through the end of the semester after such an expansive adventure.

"This trip exceeded everything we set out to accomplish in the entire semester. I'm so proud of all my students, they are the real magic of these courses," Sommers said. "I may have completely taught myself out of the classroom, but that's not a bad thing."​


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Book by English professor Ari Berk inspires new Disney film​

March 6, 2015

From "The Chronicles of Narnia" to "Alice in Wonderland," Disney has brought many children's books to life in some of the most beloved movies of all time. In one of its newest movie ventures, Disney plans to bring a Central Michigan University professor's world of goblins to life on the big screen.​​
Disney has begun scripting a film adaptation of "Goblins! A Survival Guide And Fiasco In Four Parts." The illustrated fantasy book is written by CMU English professor Ari Berk and illustrated by renowned artist Brian Froud, who was the conceptual artist for Jim Henson's "Labyrinth" and "The Dark Crystal."

"Goblins!" is a humorous guide-style book about the folklore-like creatures and their interactions with the human world, as studied and presented by Berk and Froud. Froud's goblin illustrations and Berk's text create an entire world for the mischievous creatures and present a catalogue of their hilarious antics.

​"Goblins!" became a popular book that attracted the attention of two incredibly talented artists and executives. According to Berk, director Peter Segal and his producer Michael Ewing both read the book and approached Berk and Froud about making it into a movie. When the film option contract was signed, they assembled the screenwriters and immediately started working.

Berk and Froud are executive producers on the film.

"This team of professional filmmakers are diving into the fantasy world Brian and I have created to tell a new story from our book. How cool is that?" Berk said.

Berk is honored to have his work picked up by one of the most famous names in the film industry, but there is more to it for him than just a movie deal. To see his work influence other creative minds who want to expand the scope of the original vision is the biggest compliment at the end of the day.

"This movie deal just goes to show that there are ways to make art more than a hobby," Berk said. "It all starts with studying what interests you, cultivating creativity and believing you have a unique story to tell."

Learn more about Ari Berk and his work at http://www.ariberk.com/


Human Rights, Literature, the Arts, and Social Sciences International Conference​
October 30 - 31, 2015
Campus of Central Michigan University
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The international conference will emphasize the role of literature (the Humanities), the Arts, Social Sciences and the Law in the discussion, representation, and promotion of human rights. We wish to bring writers, artists, theorists, scholars, and lawyers into a series of conversations that engage the issue of human rights, including the ethical, political, social, economic, and cultural implications of either violations or the constructions of human rights.   

In addition to our continued emphasis on the rights of indigenous peoples, the 2015 conference will focus on the following: health and human trafficking (modern-day slavery of women, men, and children, child soldiering, debt bondage, and forced marriages), paying attention to how human trafficking intersects with a wide range of other human rights topics. We hope to examine the nature, causes, and implications of human trafficking within local, national, and global contexts. What factors contribute to or enable human trafficking? What factors and policies—local, national, and global encourage or undermine combating the problem? What are the implications of human trafficking for health as a right?  What are the connections between health and human rights as well as the preservation of human dignity? 

Keynote Speaker:
Barbara L. McQuade is the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan. She was appointed by President Barack Obama in 2009. She previously served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Detroit for 12 years and Deputy Chief of the National Security Unit from 2005 to 2009.​​​